INTERVIEW: Harbourmaster | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Gone is the new single from South Shields-based producer Harbourmaster. Featuring vocalist Kirsty Forster, the song explores the common feelings of loneliness, isolation and communication that we all face. Harbourmaster, aka Martin Trollope, explains how the song came together. “I found myself sitting in the studio alone one day, which is rare for me. I ended up writing a piano riff, then a chorus. It built from there into a slightly experimental electro track which I actually released in the summer of last year under a different name. I think it even got reviewed in a magazine, but I kind of forgot about the song to be honest. Later on in the year, Gone found its way back to me via the shuffle function on my phone’s music app and I remembered how much I actually liked it, so I decided to record it again and do it a bit more justice.”

Finding a vocalist and encouraging other musicians to get involved helped to give the track a fresh sound. “I knew Kirsty from a music course I’d been on, and I knew that her voice would really suit this song. I texted her straight away and asked if she’d like to have a go at singing it and luckily for me she said yes; it all sort of escalated from there really. I asked the musicians she plays with to play on the song too; they have such a great chemistry. The players weren’t really in the room together for an awfully long time, but they didn’t need to be.”

it’s been borne out of community, which is a really beautiful thing

The resulting track is a beautiful torch song, melancholy and strident, with its intricate, textured instrumentation reminiscent of Radiohead and Mezzanine-era Massive Attack. In a previous life, Martin wrote songs in The Railway Club and played guitar in The Union Choir, and these projects were instrumental in encouraging his burgeoning interest in production, leading to him becoming based at The CustomSpace in South Shields and gaining an excellent reputation in the region, with plentiful radio airplay under his belt, although he admits he doesn’t get as much opportunity to work with other artists as he’d like to. “Having spent the last few years recording music for a variety of artists, including Headclouds, Trev Gibb, Tankengine, Eve Simpson and Tom Mouse Smith to name a few, it’s something that I really love, but it can be quite a lonely process. I record the songs and then I have no control over what happens afterwards, which is a really liberating process in many ways.”

He reflects that working on his own release has been a more collaborative affair. “This has been a really different experience, because I suppose it’s been borne out of community, which is a really beautiful thing. I’ve always loved the idea of writing songs for other people, it’s something I’d really love to maintain in the future. I am eternally grateful to them as it really brought Gone to life and made it even better than I could have ever hoped for. I love this song, and I hope some other people do too.”

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